The Lord Expects Us to Study Matters Out in Our Own Minds before Receiving Revelation
Joseph Smith—History 1:8–10
8 During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.
9 My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.
10 In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?
Elder Carlos H. Amado said:
“Joseph Smith meditated often; he thought, analyzed, compared; he tried to find answers to what he read in the scriptures. He said:
“‘During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness. . . .
“‘. . . I often said to myself: . . . Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it? . . .
“‘Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again’ (JS—H 1:8, 10, 12).
“To meditate about eternal truths is to think and to ask ourselves, over and over: ‘How can I know?’ ‘How have others come to know?’
“How can you come to a knowledge of these things? Please meditate about it seriously.”
(“Some Basic Teachings from the History of Joseph Smith,” Ensign, May 2002, 80–81.)